Oasis and Gorge of Khabbayn



Oasis and Gorge of Khabbayn

'Khabbayn' is an Arabic word meaning "two caves" or two of some type of cavern. We think the name may be a reference that, between the oasis at Khabbayn and the oasis at Khutwah, there are two gorges. The wadis that drain two water catchment areas of that section of the Hajar mountains meet at Khutwah, one flowing out of the mountains and past Sultan's Oasis to Khutwah, the other coming our of the mountains to Jazira before meandering to the western (southern) side of the gorges.

The gorge on the Khutwah side is much deeper as the water cuts through several layers of conglomerate to get to the 'bedrock' below.

Many locals know the area as "Khabbayn" suggesting it is probably more famous for the two drainage systems than the modern oases. Most expatriates are familiar with the area because the oasis at Khutwah has been publicized in one of the off-road guide books popular with foreigners.

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As you enter the oasis, you pass a large cemetery and this wall which includes mud bricks from smelters
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This core of a smelter confirms the ancient practice of smelting copper
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What appears to be a modern tannour oven; could it have been an ore roasting pit?
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On this visit to the oasis in late spring, the dates were maturing
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Khabbayn has a number of healthy and productive mango trees
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Farmers go to great lengths to keep date palms in production
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Precious water is pumped from the gorges through this network of plastic hose
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High overhead is a tree laden with mango that will be ripe in July
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One of the secondary crops here is garlic
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Mangoes that are not as large as the Indian ones in the shops; however, they are delicious
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Many eat mango green, with a little salt; they also make good chutney
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Rough skinned oranges were also in abundance
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Leaves of the orange tree
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This house is filled with the rubble from collapsed walls and roof
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More than half of the houses in the old town are still occupied
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A typical street in town, some buildings occupied, others vacant
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Stone wall, part of an old family compound wall
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In the gorge, there was plenty of water!
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The group navigating one of the deeper pools
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The water was clean and populated with fish
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The gorge narrowed as we moved from Khabbayn towards the bridge at Khutwah
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Tom Weeks and his son joined the trip that day
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An area excavated by quickly moving water loaded with stone and gravel
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Tom's son could not resist a swim
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The water was over a meter deep in some sections
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Detail of some of the fractured "bedrock"
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Brien's truck down in the wadi bed
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The wadi near Khutwah is a tangle of fallen rocks
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Water seeping from the rock
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This huge boulder is wedged in the gorge
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The view from the darkness of the gorge back towards Khabbayn
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Tom and his son in the gorge
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Moisture stained rocks


 


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